When the 256th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft was made and the Arizona Cardinals selected Gerald Christian, it became official. No Syracuse players were taken in the NFL Draft for the first time since 2008. This was despite three former Syracuse players being projected to be taken: Sean Hickey, Durell Eskridge and Dyshawn Davis.
Since being passed over on Draft Night, several former Syracuse players have signed as undrafted free agents and are now preparing for training camp.
Let‚Äôs start with Dyshawn Davis. Davis, who played linebacker for the Orange, signed with the Washington Redskins almost immediately after the NFL Draft. He was second on the team in 2014 with 71 tackles and was a crucial piece of the strong Orange defense.
Davis and the ‚ÄòSkins will begin camp on Thursday and he is one of 17 linebackers on the current roster. Needless to say he will have to have an extremely strong showing in camp and in the first pre-season game if he hopes to make the final 53-man roster for Washington.
Next is a man who was widely criticized for entering the NFL Draft and subsequently failed to be drafted; Safety Durell Eskridge. Eskridge, like Davis signed almost immediately following the draft as he reached an agreement with the New York Jets.
The Jets report to camp Thursday in Florham Park, NJ and there is certainly reason to believe that Eskridge can make the Jets final roster. He impressed at the Combine and though the Jets are now loaded at Cornerback, they may be looking to strengthen themselves at Safety.
Eskridge‚Äôs decision to declare for the Draft came as a surprise to many Syracuse fans and he may just surprise everyone again and be on an NFL roster on opening day.
Lastly, we come to the man that all Syracuse fans expected to have his name called in Chicago, Sean Hickey. Despite a long injury history, Hickey was projected to be drafted between the third and fifth rounds. Those rounds passed, and then so did the sixth and the seventh and Hickey found himself undrafted.
It shouldn‚Äôt be a surprise that Hickey has indeed found himself an NFL home as he has joined up with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. It also shouldn‚Äôt come as a surprise that I feel he has the best chance of all of the former Syracuse players to find himself in the NFL in September.
He was one of the best Offensive Tackles in the nation last season, according to advanced statistics and according to Hickey himself, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said that he has a very good chance of making the team and he may have the chance to add depth to the offensive line.
The Saints open camp on Thursday and Hickey‚Äôs journey towards his NFL dream begins again.
It is important to remember that just because no Syracuse players were drafted, that does not mean that Orange Nation will not see one of their former players in an NFL uniform in September.